With social distancing expected to be part of our lives for months into the future due to coronavirus, retailers and other businesses are already looking for ways to minimize person-to-person contact. Restaurants and stores are expected to open nationwide with lowered capacity over time, and some airlines announced distancing measures by blocking off middle seats and reducing the number of passengers on board.
The goal of these changes is to limit the spread of COVID-19 while also letting consumers get back to some semblance of a normal life.
Retailers embrace contactless amid a pandemic
Some stores, including supermarkets, have also beefed up contactless payment options that let shoppers pay their bill without having to make contact. In fact, Publix Super Markets started the rollout of contactless payment to all of its more than 1,200 stores in the Southeastern United States in early April.
Bloomberg also reported that contactless payments are expected to skyrocket nationwide, and that Walmart recently made a change to its self-checkout terminals so that shoppers don’t have to insert their credit card to pay with Walmart Pay.
It’s only natural that other retailers will follow suit, not only to protect customers but to provide an extra layer of protection for their employees, who are working diligently on the front lines.
What are contactless payments?
Contactless payments are offered by credit cards that feature a specific logo. According to Visa, security for contactless payment works similarly to chip credit cards since each transaction comes with a one-time code that protects your credit card number and personal information.
To pay with a contactless credit card, all you have to do is hold your card a few inches from the contactless symbol on a payment terminal. Once you receive confirmation that your purchase has been approved, you can collect your receipt and go.
Is your card contactless?
Many more credit cards are contactless than people realize, but if you’re unsure about your particular credit card, just look for the contactless symbol on the front of your card.
Keep in mind that, if your credit card isn’t contactless, you can also hook your credit card up to mobile wallet payments and pay without contact that way. It’s even expected for consumers to turn to mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay to cover more purchases since these apps let you pay using your mobile device.
All you have to do is download the mobile wallet you want to use then connect your credit card to your account. From there, you can use your mobile device to make purchases, and the transaction will be contactless provided the payment terminal has the capability.
Which credit card issuers offer contactless credit cards?
Nearly all major credit card issuers offer at least a handful of contactless credit cards by now, but some are slowly rolling them out as replacement cards when customer’s current credit cards expire. Here’s how each of their major card issuers are handling contactless payments for 2020 and beyond:
American Express notes that most of their credit cards are contactless already, but they’re continuing to migrate more credit cards to contactless over time. On the Amex website, you can clearly see that the American Express® Green Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card and the American Express® Gold Card feature the contactless symbol and that’s just a start.
American Express also notes that, if your credit card product is going to change, you can expect a new contactless card when your credit card is due to renew.
American Express credit cards can be used for contactless payments of $30 or less.
Capital One notes that many of their credit cards already feature contactless technology, including popular cards like the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
If you have an older version of one of these credit cards that is not updated with contactless technology, you can call the number on the back of your card and ask for a replacement card.
The information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card , and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
Chase is very direct about which of their credit cards are currently contactless. Cards they offer with contactless capabilities include the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and 20 other options, some of which are co-branded with airlines or hotels.
Chase also says that, if you want to replace your Chase card with a contactless version, you can do so on this credit card replacement page.
Citi says that many of their credit cards are already contactless, but the card issuer is continuing to roll out more contactless cards and replacement cards over time. Currently, cards that may already be contactless, or that are eligible for contactless technology, include the Citi® Double Cash Card, the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Prestige® Card, but more cards are on the way.
There is no spending limit on contactless purchases made with Citi credit cards other than your credit limit.
Discover says that, while many of their credit cards are contactless already, you can request a contactless version of your Discover card by logging into your account. They also note that purchases over $100 may require a signature — even if you pay with a contactless credit card at a contactless terminal.
If you want to reduce the amount of interaction you have with other people and surfaces, contactless credit cards can help. You can pay just by holding your card a few inches from a contactless terminal, which means you don’t actually have to come into contact with that particular surface at all.
Recent survey data from American Express also shares that 83 percent of point-of-sale merchants agree contactless provides a faster checkout option. With contactless payment speeding up the checkout process, you can get out of the store and out into the fresh air as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have a contactless credit card, we suggest reaching out to your card issuer to see if you can receive a new card with contactless technology in the mail. If not, consider signing up for a new credit card that features this technology, and potentially even better perks and rewards than what you have now.